Too much arsenic in rice, especially danger for babies and children. The English study

New British research has found too high levels of arsenic for infants and children in half of the rice samples analyzed

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Rice contains arsenic. This problem has been discussed for years now, but now new research, conducted in the United Kingdom, rekindles interest in the topic, confirming the risk especially for children. In fact, in about half of the samples analyzed, a too high level of arsenic was identified, potentially dangerous for the little ones.

A team from the Institute for Sustainable Food of the University of Sheffield analyzed 55 rice samples sold in the UK. These were purchased from various online retailers and suppliers from August to September 2018. These were white rice, but also whole or wild, some were organic and some were not.

By testing the different brands, the researchers found that well 28 samples contained arsenic in higher levels to those that the European Commission deems acceptable in rice intended for infants or children under the age of five.

Arsenic in Rice: Should You Worry?

Concentrations of inorganic arsenic should be less than 0,20 milligrams per kilogram of white rice and less than 0,25 mg per kg of brown rice. However, theconcentrated in rice used for the production of baby food or consumed directly by the little ones is attached to a maximum of 0,1 mg per kg.

Total arsenic in the 55 rice samples analyzed ranged from 0,01 to 0,37 mg per kg with an average of 0,15 mg per kg. The mean concentration of inorganic arsenic of the 28 samples above the limit was 0,152 mg per kg (but of course there were some that contained much more).

The researchers considered three scenarios for assessing the health risk related to the presence of arsenic in rice. The first was based on the per capita consumption rate of rice in the UK and the average concentration of inorganic arsenic of the rice samples tested.

In the second and third scenarios, the experts calculated the maximum per capita consumption rates of rice to avoid health risks in 3 different age groups and in men, women and children.

The results and potential risks for young children

The researchers concluded that children under one year of age should consume a maximum of 20 grams per day of the 28 varieties of rice that violated the regulations, to avoid the risk of developing cancer in old age. But there is a problem:  the brands were analyzed anonymously, therefore it is not known which are those in which too much arsenic has been found.

The study, published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, showed that the health risks from consuming arsenic rice are mainly limited to infants, whereas rice-based products are commonly used for weaning (therefore consumed every day for a certain period), given the nutritional benefits and the relatively low allergic potential of this cereal.

Recall that some adverse effects reported and associated with long-term ingestion of inorganic arsenic are skin lesions, cancer, developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The results of the study also showed that brown rice had higher levels of inorganic arsenic than white rice because it contains the bran, the outer layer of the grain. THEFurthermore, organic rice contained significantly higher levels compared to rice grown with traditional methods.

As Manoj Menon, a scientist in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield and lead author of the study, said:

“Brown and wild rice are healthy foods rich in fiber and vitamins and adults don't need to avoid them - but it's worrying to see so many varieties being sold in the UK violating food safety regulations. Rice-based products are often considered a safe option for babies and toddlers, but our research suggests that for more than half of the rice we sampled, babies should be limited to just 20 grams per day to avoid the risks. associated with arsenic. The government and the European Commission must introduce labeling to warn people of arsenic levels in rice to allow families to make informed food choices ”.

Scientists are basically calling for clear labeling of arsenic, warning consumers of the risks. In short, it should be clearly written whether or not there is danger in the consumption of that rice by infants and children under 5 years of age.

Arsenic in milk and baby food: how to limit the damage

In the meantime, since these indications do not exist and we do not know how much arsenic actually contains the rice we have at home, we can follow the following advice to remove this harmful substance from the cereal as much as possible.

How to cook rice to remove arsenic

Fonte di riferimento: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety/ Food Safety News

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